Temporary, partial paralysis - no answers yet

Beardie name(s)
Shredder
Hi everyone ~ this is my second time posting here! In my first post, I asked for advice on a damaged scale on Shred's nose. We've been applying medical honey as suggested and its healing up great ☺️

Unfortunately, we've had another issue that we just don't have answers for and I'm hoping someone here can help. Skip to the bottom for more information about Shredder and his husbandry!

The mystery illness/condition/disease begins back toward the end of March. I woke up one day around 3/26/22 and Shredder was limping on one of his front legs. He is very active, so it wouldn't have surprised me if he had sprained something. But in the next few days, we monitor him and he becomes more shaky. His legs get weaker, and soon we start noticing what seems like paralysis moving between all four his legs. One gets better, and a different one gets worse. We see a little bit of swelling accompanying the weakness as well. We give him baths, and he eats/defecates normally. At this point we get him an appointment with an exotic vet on 3/29. He's pretty much immobile at this point, and is refusing to move or use his legs. The vet does a physical examination, as well as Xrays and bloodwork. She has us start him on 0.16ml of Metacam daily to help alleviate the inflammation and pain (we can't tell if he is in pain at this point - he is not putting weight on his limbs and limping, which suggests pain -- but he does not react to applied pressure on his limbs or joints).

Not only does the physical exam rule out any of the normal beardie issues, but the Xrays and bloodwork come back to confirm that he does not have gout, MBD, impaction, any deficiencies, or any injuries that would be causing this. The only thing that comes back unusual is his white blood cell count (very high). This indicated infection, although he has no other symptoms besides the traveling limb weakness/paralysis. We take him back to the vet after the results come in to discuss next options on April 5th, but a day prior (on 4/4/22) I started notice significant improvements. The vet has us start antibiotics anyway and continue the full dosage just to make sure he kicks whatever he's dealing with. All returns to normal and he immediately goes into shed with all his new found energy.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago on 9/11/22 and I see him limp over to a different part of his set up on the front right leg. I gave him a dose of Metacam, and got him a next day vet appointment. The vet takes a look at him on the 12th and says pretty much the same things as last time. He looks great, is eating and defecating normally, is breathing normally, is acting completely normal. At this time, the limpness was only in his one leg, so she told us to just continue with the Metacam and hope that this time, it really is just a light injury. We asked her to give us some antibiotics just incase so we could get those started if it starts to travel. Well, it started to travel a few days later. His right arm got shaky, but less limp just as his left arm also got shaky and became limp. I started him on the antibiotics on 9/15/22. At this point, he can move around, but is very weak and shaky, and I cannot tell if this weakness has gone to his back legs. Fortunately, he's not nearly as paralyzed as the first time (I assume this is because of an earlier intervention, but I don't know for sure).

It is now 9/25/22 and he is completely recovered, just a little shy after a lot of bad-tasting oral medication. We discontinued the Metacam on 9/17/22, and we just discontinued the antibiotics 2 days ago.

We are debating about whether or not to continue the full dosing of antibiotics and whether to get bloodwork drawn again. The vet told us that she has never seen this before, and between her and my (stem nerd) partner, we are at a loss with the research. Anything I find about paralysis is always late-term infection/disease, and it is never an alone symptoms like this. I'd say I'm pretty desperate to get a better understanding of what is going on, and what I can do to help Shredder. But is bloodwork really necessary? If nothing came back alarming besides white blood cell count last time, I'm not sure this time would be any more helpful, but I'm open to suggestions. We did not have an ADV test done either time, but that is also an option. According to the literature and our vet, there's nothing to suggest this is what we are dealing with, but with out many other options we are considering it. As for the antibiotics, I worry that we could be medicating him unnecessarily since he is already recovered, and if this is a recurring thing, I think it would benefit him to have his own immune response.


About Shredder's Husbandry

Shredder is a ~3 year old male beardie we purchased from Petco at around 2-4 months old (yes, I deeply regret this). He spent the early months of his life in a large breeder. By the time he was close to a year old, I began working from home (thanks to the pandemic) and he spent a lot more time out of his tank. Since moving to Colorado over a year ago, we've opted for a tankless setup. He essentially has a 2ft by 5ft corner with lights, his hide, and basking/climbing platforms (pic attached). He has 2 UVB and 2 heat bulbs. Both heat bulbs are 100w and are in reflective hoods. We have a 24in 16% T5 UVB that stretches across the warm side of his set up and a compact UVB bulb directly above his basking area. Temperatures are between 75-80 on the cool side and 85-95 on the warm side. He takes regular baths when he has to defecate, and eats a good variety of collards, mustard greens, turnip greens as staples. We also have a garden and grow a lot of plants for him as treats, like clover, hibiscus, strawberries, blueberries, peppers, chamomile, and other fruits/veggies on occassion. For protein, he gets mostly dubia roaches, but we prepare Repashy and occasionally get mealworms for variety. He does not get protein or sugar daily. We try to replicate his natural environment by limiting access to these types of foods, so sugar (in the form of fruits/veggies/flowers) is a 1-3 times a week, and protein is given a little less than once a week. Being that Shredder is free-range, he spends a lot of his time active, running, climbing, and exploring around our apartment. He also enjoys time on our balcony, soaking up some sun weekly. Besides this, he spends about 50-60% of his time under his lights.

I know our husbandry is not perfect, and is definitely unconventional, but I don't know what (if anything) about our husbandry could be causing a problem when we've ruled out all the normal husbandry-provoked health issues. Maybe there's something i'm not thinking about?

Thank you all in advance for any thoughts or feedback!

pic #1, 3 and 4 are taken after i started to notice the issue traveled to his other arm. pic #2 is the day we took him to the vet for just the right arm.
IMG_5247.jpg
IMG_5243.jpg

IMG_5246.jpg
IMG_5245.jpg
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
Hi everyone ~ this is my second time posting here! In my first post, I asked for advice on a damaged scale on Shred's nose. We've been applying medical honey as suggested and its healing up great ☺️

Unfortunately, we've had another issue that we just don't have answers for and I'm hoping someone here can help. Skip to the bottom for more information about Shredder and his husbandry!

The mystery illness/condition/disease begins back toward the end of March. I woke up one day around 3/26/22 and Shredder was limping on one of his front legs. He is very active, so it wouldn't have surprised me if he had sprained something. But in the next few days, we monitor him and he becomes more shaky. His legs get weaker, and soon we start noticing what seems like paralysis moving between all four his legs. One gets better, and a different one gets worse. We see a little bit of swelling accompanying the weakness as well. We give him baths, and he eats/defecates normally. At this point we get him an appointment with an exotic vet on 3/29. He's pretty much immobile at this point, and is refusing to move or use his legs. The vet does a physical examination, as well as Xrays and bloodwork. She has us start him on 0.16ml of Metacam daily to help alleviate the inflammation and pain (we can't tell if he is in pain at this point - he is not putting weight on his limbs and limping, which suggests pain -- but he does not react to applied pressure on his limbs or joints).

Not only does the physical exam rule out any of the normal beardie issues, but the Xrays and bloodwork come back to confirm that he does not have gout, MBD, impaction, any deficiencies, or any injuries that would be causing this. The only thing that comes back unusual is his white blood cell count (very high). This indicated infection, although he has no other symptoms besides the traveling limb weakness/paralysis. We take him back to the vet after the results come in to discuss next options on April 5th, but a day prior (on 4/4/22) I started notice significant improvements. The vet has us start antibiotics anyway and continue the full dosage just to make sure he kicks whatever he's dealing with. All returns to normal and he immediately goes into shed with all his new found energy.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago on 9/11/22 and I see him limp over to a different part of his set up on the front right leg. I gave him a dose of Metacam, and got him a next day vet appointment. The vet takes a look at him on the 12th and says pretty much the same things as last time. He looks great, is eating and defecating normally, is breathing normally, is acting completely normal. At this time, the limpness was only in his one leg, so she told us to just continue with the Metacam and hope that this time, it really is just a light injury. We asked her to give us some antibiotics just incase so we could get those started if it starts to travel. Well, it started to travel a few days later. His right arm got shaky, but less limp just as his left arm also got shaky and became limp. I started him on the antibiotics on 9/15/22. At this point, he can move around, but is very weak and shaky, and I cannot tell if this weakness has gone to his back legs. Fortunately, he's not nearly as paralyzed as the first time (I assume this is because of an earlier intervention, but I don't know for sure).

It is now 9/25/22 and he is completely recovered, just a little shy after a lot of bad-tasting oral medication. We discontinued the Metacam on 9/17/22, and we just discontinued the antibiotics 2 days ago.

We are debating about whether or not to continue the full dosing of antibiotics and whether to get bloodwork drawn again. The vet told us that she has never seen this before, and between her and my (stem nerd) partner, we are at a loss with the research. Anything I find about paralysis is always late-term infection/disease, and it is never an alone symptoms like this. I'd say I'm pretty desperate to get a better understanding of what is going on, and what I can do to help Shredder. But is bloodwork really necessary? If nothing came back alarming besides white blood cell count last time, I'm not sure this time would be any more helpful, but I'm open to suggestions. We did not have an ADV test done either time, but that is also an option. According to the literature and our vet, there's nothing to suggest this is what we are dealing with, but with out many other options we are considering it. As for the antibiotics, I worry that we could be medicating him unnecessarily since he is already recovered, and if this is a recurring thing, I think it would benefit him to have his own immune response.


About Shredder's Husbandry

Shredder is a ~3 year old male beardie we purchased from Petco at around 2-4 months old (yes, I deeply regret this). He spent the early months of his life in a large breeder. By the time he was close to a year old, I began working from home (thanks to the pandemic) and he spent a lot more time out of his tank. Since moving to Colorado over a year ago, we've opted for a tankless setup. He essentially has a 2ft by 5ft corner with lights, his hide, and basking/climbing platforms (pic attached). He has 2 UVB and 2 heat bulbs. Both heat bulbs are 100w and are in reflective hoods. We have a 24in 16% T5 UVB that stretches across the warm side of his set up and a compact UVB bulb directly above his basking area. Temperatures are between 75-80 on the cool side and 85-95 on the warm side. He takes regular baths when he has to defecate, and eats a good variety of collards, mustard greens, turnip greens as staples. We also have a garden and grow a lot of plants for him as treats, like clover, hibiscus, strawberries, blueberries, peppers, chamomile, and other fruits/veggies on occassion. For protein, he gets mostly dubia roaches, but we prepare Repashy and occasionally get mealworms for variety. He does not get protein or sugar daily. We try to replicate his natural environment by limiting access to these types of foods, so sugar (in the form of fruits/veggies/flowers) is a 1-3 times a week, and protein is given a little less than once a week. Being that Shredder is free-range, he spends a lot of his time active, running, climbing, and exploring around our apartment. He also enjoys time on our balcony, soaking up some sun weekly. Besides this, he spends about 50-60% of his time under his lights.

I know our husbandry is not perfect, and is definitely unconventional, but I don't know what (if anything) about our husbandry could be causing a problem when we've ruled out all the normal husbandry-provoked health issues. Maybe there's something i'm not thinking about?

Thank you all in advance for any thoughts or feedback!

pic #1, 3 and 4 are taken after i started to notice the issue traveled to his other arm. pic #2 is the day we took him to the vet for just the right arm.
View attachment 74274 View attachment 74275
View attachment 74273 View attachment 74272
Unless he is outside for direct sunlight hes not getting enough UVB--- there should be a piece of basking decor directly underneath approx 12-15 inches -- surface basking temps should be 95-100 and I see a coil sticking out of one of the domes-- is that a UVB or a basking bulb -- you want a clear solid bright white basking bulb ---
 

Shredderthedragon

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Shredder
Unless he is outside for direct sunlight hes not getting enough UVB--- there should be a piece of basking decor directly underneath approx 12-15 inches -- surface basking temps should be 95-100 and I see a coil sticking out of one of the domes-- is that a UVB or a basking bulb -- you want a clear solid bright white basking bulb ---
Thank you for you quick response Karrie! I appreciate your time.

He does spend a few hours a week in the direct sunlight outside, but the bulk of UVB he gets is from under his lights. Here's some more details about the lighting set up. So for UVB, we have the 24" Arcadia Dragon 14% T5 Lamp (not 16% my bad). The other UVB bulb is the Arcadia compact Desert 12% UVB, and that is what you see sticking out of the fixture. I've been struggling to find a large enough double fixture to replace this one we got when Shredder was in a tank. This double fixture also houses one of two Thrive (brand by Petsmart - now manufactured by Arcadia) 100W Basking Bulbs. The second one is in the single round reflective fixture to the left.

I do intend on creating more platforms for him to access different heights and thus different heat/UVB levels in the larger space to the left, but things keep getting paused, especially with his vet visits costing so much. I am also almost done with a small rock garden that will sit right under the T5 and boost his ground height up between 5-8 inches, depending on where he sits. Right now, the ground-to-T5 is 25"... which is definitely not ideal since Arcadia says the UVB value is lost around 20". But his basking spot distance to the UVB compact is 13" (14.5" for the heat bulb in the other side of the fixture). Also, I just grabbed some temperature readings and his basking spot was 101.5F, 84F by his log hide. There is some variation to this since he is not confined by glass, but we do our best to keep it within reasonable limits. If it is a day thats a little on the cooler side, he sometimes sleeps more, but then its balanced out with more activity and basking on warmer days, or hours spent outside in the sun (where our balcony surface temp exceeds 110F even on an 80F day).

I can post more pictures if this is helpful. I also was told by the vet that if his issues were caused by lack of UVB, we would see deficiencies in blood work - but if you think this could be the problem I'm all ears.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 4 and Blaze is 3
Thank you for you quick response Karrie! I appreciate your time.

He does spend a few hours a week in the direct sunlight outside, but the bulk of UVB he gets is from under his lights. Here's some more details about the lighting set up. So for UVB, we have the 24" Arcadia Dragon 14% T5 Lamp (not 16% my bad). The other UVB bulb is the Arcadia compact Desert 12% UVB, and that is what you see sticking out of the fixture. I've been struggling to find a large enough double fixture to replace this one we got when Shredder was in a tank. This double fixture also houses one of two Thrive (brand by Petsmart - now manufactured by Arcadia) 100W Basking Bulbs. The second one is in the single round reflective fixture to the left.

I do intend on creating more platforms for him to access different heights and thus different heat/UVB levels in the larger space to the left, but things keep getting paused, especially with his vet visits costing so much. I am also almost done with a small rock garden that will sit right under the T5 and boost his ground height up between 5-8 inches, depending on where he sits. Right now, the ground-to-T5 is 25"... which is definitely not ideal since Arcadia says the UVB value is lost around 20". But his basking spot distance to the UVB compact is 13" (14.5" for the heat bulb in the other side of the fixture). Also, I just grabbed some temperature readings and his basking spot was 101.5F, 84F by his log hide. There is some variation to this since he is not confined by glass, but we do our best to keep it within reasonable limits. If it is a day thats a little on the cooler side, he sometimes sleeps more, but then its balanced out with more activity and basking on warmer days, or hours spent outside in the sun (where our balcony surface temp exceeds 110F even on an 80F day).

I can post more pictures if this is helpful. I also was told by the vet that if his issues were caused by lack of UVB, we would see deficiencies in blood work - but if you think this could be the problem I'm all ears.
The 13 watt is no good -- please get rid of it - they cause more health issues - the 14% bulb should be 17-18 inches directly above the basking decor piece -- outside time is good but you must be careful hes not getting too hot - does he access to shade out there - anything over 110 is too hot and most juvie/ adult dragons do not like over 100 -- also the T 5 should be changed out in approx one year I recommend a month or so prior to
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby & Snicker Doodle
That setup looks pretty darned cool, i wish i could do that.
A thought that comes to my mind is, he's free roaming, and climbs, beardies don't really consider height, and will jump off anything,is there any chance he is jumping or falling off of something and injuring himself? We see threads here sometimes of severe injuries or even death from very short jumps or falls. Just a thought.
 

Shredderthedragon

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Shredder
The 13 watt is no good -- please get rid of it - they cause more health issues - the 14% bulb should be 17-18 inches directly above the basking decor piece -- outside time is good but you must be careful hes not getting too hot - does he access to shade out there - anything over 110 is too hot and most juvie/ adult dragons do not like over 100 -- also the T 5 should be changed out in approx one year I recommend a month or so prior to
Okay, I'll get started replacing that bulb and giving him some more height. I've got some temporary decor I can put over there for him. He's pretty good at thermoregulating when he's outside -- when he gets too warm in the sun he lays in the shade under a small table where he's surrounded by a few of our container plants to cool off. Thanks!
 

Shredderthedragon

Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Shredder
That setup looks pretty darned cool, i wish i could do that.
A thought that comes to my mind is, he's free roaming, and climbs, beardies don't really consider height, and will jump off anything,is there any chance he is jumping or falling off of something and injuring himself? We see threads here sometimes of severe injuries or even death from very short jumps or falls. Just a thought.
Thank you! It's a work in progress \o/

Honestly, this was my first thought. He is definitely a climber and has gotten himself into some precarious situations over the past few years (like climbing the screen door) but I've seen him do this a little too late for me to catch him and he always walks away from a jump fine. I think we also would have seen something in the xrays if it was bad enough he wasn't moving, right? Or in the physical exam with the vet, she didn't notice any issues with the joint movement or any general structural concerns
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

Great looking setup, absolutely! What a lucky guy he is.
It could be the beginnings of metabolic bone disease, just due to him not getting enough UVB
or often enough. Can you post a few up close pictures so I can see the swelling better? There
is always a possibility of gout developing, not sure. You feed dubia & they are relatively high in
uric acid naturally. What type of feed do you use to gut load the dubias, do you use dry feed for
them?

Tracie
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

How is your boy today? I was wondering if you decided to keep him off of the antibiotics or
continued it for him?
Keep us posted on him.

Tracie
 

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